Identifying a real Brabus

When looking for your next Smart car, you may decide that you want a Brabus and why not? A little car restyled and retuned by one of the more respected tuning houses in the world means plenty of fun.
However, some unscrupulous or unknowing sellers may attempt to pass off a standard car as a Brabus either for a quick sell or to get more money so let's identify the fake Brabuses from the real ones.

What should I not look at?

Don't just look at the visual stuff as nearly all of these can easily be sourced and retrofitted to a Smart to make them appear to be a Brabus. These are not limited to but include the following items:
  • Wheels
  • Exhaust
  • Body kits
  • Gearknob
  • Any badges
  • Seats
  • Steering wheel
  • Dashboard

Don't rely on the sellers description either. If a title says "Smart car Brabus" for example but then the description says "Smart car with Brabus kit", treat with caution. Are they trying to sell you a standard Smart or a bona fide Brabus?
Similarly, if the car has been remapped to Brabus levels, that also does not make it a Brabus.

So what should I look at?

The simple method is by the VIN number which, in theory, should never change (if you see any car with a tampered VIN number, walk away, it is very probably dodgy). You could call Mercedes to verify it or use the table below to check it. The first part of of the VIN number is important as it identifies the model and variant of the car for a Smart. The pattern is normally WME so if the first part of the VIN is WME451432 is a 451 Cabriolet. Importantly, for this, Brabus cars have their own variant numbers as well so if the car you are looking has the following pattern, then it is almost certainly a Brabus.

Note that early 450s don't have the WME prefix (TCC or MC01) so may not be covered by the below.

VIN Number prefix Model
450314 Smart-Brabus Coupe
450333, 450335 Smart City-Coupe Brabus
450414 Smart-Brabus Cabriolet
450433 Smart Cabriolet Brabus
451333 Fortwo Coupe Brabus
451392, 451492 Fortwo Cabriolet ED Brabus
451433 Fortwo Cabriolet Brabus
452337 Roadster-Coupe Brabus
452437 Roadster Brabus
453062 ForFour Brabus
453362 ForTwo Coupe Brabus
453462 ForTwo Cabriolet Brabus
454034 ForFour Brabus

However, even with this, this does not guarantee that the car being looked at is a Brabus. However, there is another factor which further helps identify the car as Brabus which is the speedometer and pods. Brabus speedometers have a different speed range
to a standard car and have different fascias as well. The below is a standard 454 speedometer on top and a Brabus speedometer on the bottom. Note the speed range of the two speedometers.

A pair of 454 speedometers, the top one being from a standard ForFour, the bottom from a Brabus ForFour.

If the car you are looking at has the right VIN and this style of speedometer (I believe the 450, 451 and 452 have similar styling), it is very likely to be a Brabus.

What about special editions, such as the Tailor Made editions?

Smart themselves do sometimes sell standard Smarts with Brabus parts added to them, such as the Tailor Made line from the 451 and 453 models for example. They are very much sold as a special edition Smart rather than a Brabus outright and the sales people
should tell you this. They appear to be focused on the visuals rather than performance outright. Most of the parts could also be added to the car when ordered as a Brabus pack when the car was being ordered. Having this pack does not make the car a Brabus,
just that it has Brabus components added to it.

Brabus also did tuning modifications for the engines of standard cars to boost them a little, such as the SB3 for the 454 ForFour or the SB1 for the 450. Whilst not strictly a Brabus as this could be ordered as a addition to the car
rather than a different car altogether, you could say it was tuned by Brabus rather than the car being a Brabus entirely.